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Laguna Seca report (long)

hey all, wow, did i just have one of the best days at the track that i 
can remember.  I just had 5 20 minute sessions driving on Laguna Seca. 
NASA put on this event, and i have done many NASA events prior to this 
and should be getting my license sometime early next year...but i 

This was the first time i have ever driven Laguna Seca, barring of course 
the 2 parade laps at the Historics, but they dont really count.  From 
that short visit, i had already known that Laguna Seca (LS) has a great 
rhythm to it, and i wasnt wrong.  It was very cold in the morning when we 
started out, which was great for the turbo, but bad for the tires.  So, 
basically i had a rocket ship that couldnt turn or stop.  Speaking of not 
being able to stop, i had to do an emergency pad change (theft 
technically) from my sister's 4kq who had PBR metal masters on them.  I 
burnt up my last pads at sears point, and i needed someting to throw on 
there since im waiting for my big brakes to come in the mail (thanks 
brandon).  Needless to say, there was quite a bit of fade.  Actually, i 
think the first point that i noticed the fade was on the freaking warm up 
lap (under yellow no less) at the beginning of the day.  I knew then that 
i would have to severely modify my driving style to compensate for that 

So, it took a bit of time, maybe 5-6 laps to learn the track and find the 
best places to turn in and brake and such.  I think this was the first 
time that i felt lost as to where i was supposed to be when i took my 
first lap.  I just couldnt fall into the rythm.  Luckily, Tim Valencia 
was with me for this session and gave me some very useful tips on how to 
navigate the course, and i was soon lapping quite quickly.  Always, in 
the first session, i let people go by me and drive around 7-8 10ths 
because im not warmed up and neither is the car... But anyway..

So, eventually i came to absolutely love the track.  The only turn that 
ruins the rhythm is turn 11 which is a HARD left hairpin at the end of 
the straight coming out of rainy curve at the bottom of the corkscrew.  
It just doesnt seem to belong there, but to quote everyone that i told 
that to: "you just kind of give that corner up..."  So that is what i 

As i went out in the 2nd session, i had my friend Mike Robinson in the 
car with me and he decided to start timing some of my laps.  By this 
point, i was really starting to get into it and felt comfortable wiht the 
tire pressures that i had set (about 35 front and 43 rear, to get the 
rear sliding some).  The brakes werent working well, and i was starting 
to brake about 300 feet earlier than i should have been.  This became a 
complaint of tim at the end of the day when he rode again, but i finally 
was able to explain to him that i had NO confidance in them whatsoever, 
especially considering whath appened to Ken Bennett (but more on that at 
the end).  He timed me in that session with an average lap time of about 
2:02 with a low of 2:01 and a high of 2:05 (which was the first lap out 
in that session, which Mike said was my best driven one, but that he 
started timing when i took off...) 

The same kind of thing was going on in the third session, with basically 
the same lap times, but with slightly more optimal tire pressures, i went 
out again.  I got started slightly late, and got stuck at the entrance.  
I was worried about that because i didnt want to be in the fast cars 
group because i didnt think i would be fast enough.  As i went out, this 
Gen 3 RX7 went FLYING by me and then i got behind him.  I got lost by him 
very quickly and then i noticed that Dean Treadway was coming up behind 
me in his white 20v UrQ that had just recieved (for that lap session no 
less) a 24psi computer that boosted him another 50 hp or so i think.  I 
think he was putting out something like 400hp with his turbo and other 
mods to the engine...  So obviously on the straight he was faster than 
me, with my lowly 230hp or so...  He also had the big red conversion, and 
17 inch wheels with Hoosier race slicks on.  I was stuck with my regular 
street tires, so i didnt think there would be much competition at all.  
As i started going around the Andretti hairpin (turn 2), i actually 
pulled away from him, i guess i just got a better line.  I did that for 
about a lap, and gained a little on him in the twisties, but when we went 
on to the front straight, i sent him by and tried to keep up, but there 
was no way with the power that he had.  After i was comind down toward 
the end of that lap, i saw him pulling off wiht what i learned later was 
a blown engine: bent rod...(we think).  So anyway, that was an 
interesting and eventful session.  I also learned the best (well, my best 
way at least) way to take turn 6 which is at the top of the hill, a left 
hander, that leads on to the back straight.  It crests just about where 
you turn in and then dips down and at the apex, starts to go back uphill 
again, so it can be really tricky for non quattro cars.  So anyway, as i 
would come into this turn, one time i decided to go alot faster, scared 
the hell out of mike i learned afterward, and not hit the brakes as much 
as i was learning that i was losing too much speed since it was uphill.  
So i lightly brushed the brakes, let off, turned in, threw the car 
sideways, and then got back on the gas, drifted to the very edge of the 
track in a beautiful awd fashion and took off up the hill.  I would have 
people just on my butt as i went into that turn, and at the exit, they 
would be another 100 feet behind me...hehe...

So anyway,then came the last session.  I was alone for this one, so was 
about 200lbs ligher or so...I timed myself 2 times and got jsut about the 
same time for each.  1:58-1:59 for the lap.  That really surprised me 
when i got done...that was WAY faster than i thought i could be.  But 
anyway, this lap session was the most fun and exhillerating.  In this 
session, i could pass anywhere i wanted to.  Mike was out riding with 
Steve Sherwood (i think it was steve) in a silver a4 2.8 and i saw that 
they were about half a lap ahead of me when i went out.  So i was 
determined to catch up to them.  About 3 laps into it, i saw them just 
cresting the hill on the front straight when i came out of 11, so i was 
really motivated to go fast.  I was going to catch them quickly, but NASA 
decided to let a couple of pace cars get out in front of me.  The one 
that i passed first, and with some difficulty (his lights were off, so i 
was allowed to pass), contained, as i found later, Ali, one of the head 
honchos at nasa.  Anyway, they were slower than me around the turns, and 
i was getting irritated, cause i watned to catch up to mike.  So going 
from 5 into 6, which i have already said is my favorite part, i got up 
beside him and tried to pass. Well, although they were slow in the turns, 
he was almost as quick as me going up the hill and it was getting really 
hairy as i was coming up to the corner.  I was on the far inside of the 
turn, almost on the left candy stripe, way out of position for the good 
line, and he was in a better position.  I started to get really nervous, 
but decided to go for it because i wasnt going to back down, it was my 
corner, damnit...hehe  Anyway, i turned in rather violently; both to 
scrub off a little speed as i was going around 70, and then also to throw 
the car sideways a bit more than usual.  So i did that, clipped the 
rumble strip just slightly, and then slid into the line.  As i looked 
back, the pace car that i just passed was about 3 inches from my 
bumper....never saw him again...hehe  Well, eventually i caught up to 
mike, followed that A4 for a little bit and then ended up doing the same 
thing to that A4 that i did to the pace car.  The thing that makes that 
one cool is that the A4 had a video camera in it that caught my pass on 
tape.  so i cant wait to see it...hehe

Lets see, so that is really really long...

About ken.  As he was going into the corkscrew, his brakes failed and he 
ended up going into it about 30mph too fast.  This was where the honda 
grand prix guy died, so it made them very nervous.  He cranked it as hard 
as he could and made the turn in, but ended up oging off track, hitting 
the tire wall sideways, being thrown back, and then ended up flipping 
over  and skitting on the roof for a while...  They were both ok, because 
of the roll cage that was in the car.  

That is about it as far as that day.  It was fun as hell and i cant wait 
to go again. 

wow that was long..hehe


Michael Sheridan Williams
San Francisco, CA
ICQ# 11740998
1983 UrQuattro, MC--1.8 BAR, borla, 2B Coilover/Koni Yellows, Delrin 
Bushings f/r, 16x7.5 OZ Mito's w/ Yoko A520's, Cibie H4/H1's, K&N (blah)
1985 4000S Quattro, Koni Yellows/Coilover (2B), strut brace, Sport 8000 
Tires, K&N